Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is happy to shine our Friday spotlight on thriller author Riley Sager. I asked him to tell us briefly a little about himself and his writing, and this was his response:
I’m the New York Times bestselling author of novels that toe the line between thriller and horror. My books include Final Girls, The Last Time I Lied, Lock Every Door, Home Before Dark, Survive the Night and most recently The House Across the Lake. I grew up in Pennsylvania and live in New Jersey now.
Riley, where can people find your work? (Besides Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester–though they should totally check here first!)
You can find out everything about my books (and where to purchase) on my website rileysagerbooks.com!
How can we follow your work and share your awesomeness?
I’m all over social media (including TikTok!). You can follow me at:
For readers unfamiliar with your work, how would you describe what you write? What can readers expect from your latest book?
I love to take a familiar trope and completely turn it on its head, and I’ve done that with all of my novels. The reason something becomes a trope in the first place is because it works. It’s a proven concept that can succeed in any number of scenarios. Each tried-and-true trope comes with its own set of expectations—something every reader is instantly familiar with. My job is to give them all of that while also moving beyond the trope in new, hopefully surprising ways. HOME BEFORE DARK, for example, is more than just a familiar haunted house tale. It’s about grappling with grief and family secrets.
What was the inspiration for The House Across The Lake? What were the steps you took to bring it from initial inspiration to the finished book?
The House Across The Lake was born, quite fittingly, at a lake house in Vermont. After being cooped up in my house for so long during the pandemic, I decided to be cooped up somewhere else and rented a lovely lakeside cottage in Vermont for a week. The first night there, I poured myself a bourbon, went out to the back porch that overlooked the water and stared at the lights of the houses on the other side of the lake. It got me thinking about who lived there, what their lives were like and, since I write about such things, what dark secrets they were hiding.
I realized the setting was perfect for a story about voyeurism, suspicion and wondering how much you really know about the people living right next door. I decided then and there that it would be my next book. I ended up spending most of that week sitting on the porch, watching the lake and mentally plotting the story.
(On a fun side note, I was told that Dolly Parton had also stayed at that lake house a few times. I like to think I got so inspired because Dolly left some creativity behind and I was lucky enough to find it.)
What else can we expect from you in the near future?
I’m always leery about saying too much about what I’m currently writing. I always think talking about a work in progress will somehow jinx it. I suppose it’s okay to reveal it’s about a young caregiver with an infamous patient who lives in a crumbling mansion with murder in its past. And already I’ve said too much!
What is/are your passions when you’re not writing? How do you make time for your non-writing hobbies/things you love?
I’m a HUGE movie fan, and movies often inspire my book, especially classic movies. Fr this novel I’d definitely recommend pairing it with Rear Window. After almost seventy years, it continues to be the greatest movie about voyeurism ever made. It touches on everything—why we watch others, why it’s not a good idea to do so, the morality of it all. At the heart of it are evergreen questions that The House Across The Lake also raises. How much can we truly know about others? What’s going on below the surface? What’s really taking place just beyond those well-lit windows?
Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions, Riley, and good luck with The House Across The Lake!